TWA Flight 840 hijacking (1969)

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For the later bombing of TWA Flight 840, see TWA Flight 840 bombing (1986).
TWA Flight 840
Boeing 707-331B, Trans World Airlines (TWA) JP6421175.jpg
N776TW seen here at Los Angeles Int'l Airport in 1964
Hijacking summary
Date 29 August 1969
Summary Hijacking
Site Greek airspace
Passengers 120
Crew 7
Survivors 127 (all)
Aircraft type Boeing 707-331B[1]
Operator Trans World Airlines
Registration N776TW[2]
Flight origin Leonardo Da Vinci International Airport
Stopover Athens (Ellinikon) International Airport
Destination Ben Gurion International Airport

TWA Flight 840 was a Trans World Airlines flight from Leonardo Da Vinci International Airport in Rome, Italy to Ben Gurion International Airport in Tel Aviv, Israel, that was hijacked on 29 August 1969. There were no injuries or fatalities, although the aircraft was significantly damaged, and two hostages were held for two months.

In August 1969, leaders in the Palestinian left-wing organization Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) learned that Yitzhak Rabin, the Israeli Ambassador to the United States was scheduled to be aboard a Trans World Airlines (TWA) Rome-Athens-Tel Aviv flight. Late that month (on the 29th), two operatives, Leila Khaled and Salim Issawi, hijacked the aircraft. The operation was successful, although Rabin was not aboard. The hijackers made the pilots land the aircraft at Damascus International Airport in Syria. They evacuated the aircraft, a Boeing 707, and blew up the nose section of the aircraft. The Syrian authorities arrested the hijackers and immediately released the 12 crew members and 95 passengers, retaining at first six Israeli passengers. Of those, four were released on the 30th. The remaining two Israeli passengers were released in December that year in return for 71 Syrian and Egyptian soldiers released by Israel. The two Palestinian hijackers had been released without charges in mid-October.[3]

The aircraft sustained $4 million in damage.[4] Boeing repaired the aircraft, fitting the nose section diverted from the production line at Renton and outfitted to the aircraft's specifications.[5][6] The aircraft was re-registered N28714 and returned to service.[1] In March 1980, the aircraft was withdrawn from service and flown to Davis-Monthan Air Force Base for use as spares for the KC-135 Stratotanker fleet of the United States Air Force. The aircraft's registration was canceled in March 1984.[1]


  1. ^ a b c Ottaway, Susan (2008). Fire over Heathrow: The Tragedy of Flight 712. Barnsley: Pen and Sword Books Ltd. ISBN 978-1-84415-739-6. 
  2. ^ "FAA Registry". Federal Aviation Administration. 
  3. ^ Newton, Michael (2002). The Encyclopedia of Kidnappings. Infobase Publishing. p. 154. 
  4. ^ Walter Enders, Todd Sandler. The political economy of terrorism. p.44
  5. ^ Serling, Robert J (1992). Legend & Legacy, The story of Boeing and its people. New York: St. Martens Press. p. 357. ISBN 0-312-05890-X. 
  6. ^ "Odds and Ends: Repairing the Ethiopian 787; the ELT theory". Leeham News and Comment. Retrieved 2015-09-08. 

See also[edit]